Theology

Bringing our anguish and complaints to God

Like so many, I am in anguish about the horrific war unfolding due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Feel-good, trite forms of Christianity are of little use in these times. The seriousness and desperateness of the situation reminds me of something Eugene Peterson said: “This is an urgent time and the task of the Christian… Continue reading Bringing our anguish and complaints to God

Social commentary, Wellbeing

Good fiction helps us live in the real world

There has been a lot of articles and discussion about how parents can talk to their children about the horrific war in Ukraine. See these examples from UNICEF, Sky and the New York Times. One element that is often overlooked is captured in C.S. Lewis' quote above: the role that great stories and good fiction… Continue reading Good fiction helps us live in the real world

Recommended books & reviews, Social action

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

The scale and profile of church-based social action projects has grown significantly over the last 20 years. There has been a particular rise in projects which distribute practical resources, with food banks being the most high profile example. Critical reflection The growth of such activity raises questions which need to be reflected on. Is this… Continue reading Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

Reflections & Poetry, Wellbeing

Showing love online on Valentine’s Day

If I blog with sparkling wit and powerful prose, but do not have love, I am just a blaring horn or a screech on a blackboard .  If I tell great stories, show brilliant intellect and can shine light on the mysteries of life, but do not have love, I am nothing.   If I make myself look… Continue reading Showing love online on Valentine’s Day

Homelessness, Theology

The book which has most influenced how we respond to homeless people

This article is based on my lecture at a British Academy conference at Lincoln University on ‘Representing Homelessness’ where I spoke on ‘theological representation’. It is a matter of historical fact that a huge number of the charities established to address homelessness were set up by committed Christians. Some retain a strong link to their… Continue reading The book which has most influenced how we respond to homeless people

Homelessness

‘Everyone else was nice…but she told me the truth I needed to hear’

Ten years ago I was leading a seminar at the Greenbelt festival on homelessness with Housing Justice. We had arranged for an actor to interrupt the start of the session, pretending to be homeless and appeal to the 300-odd people in the venue for cash. We wanted to recreate something of the dilemma and tension… Continue reading ‘Everyone else was nice…but she told me the truth I needed to hear’

Social commentary

‘We read to know we are not alone’: Two ingredients of a great blog

Blogs are a hyper-democratic form of journalism. Almost anyone can now publish their views and propagate them globally on social media. This has created a deluge of opinion: the world more packed with people’s written thoughts than ever before. I see blogs as a little like fast-food. They are quick, convenient to consume and can… Continue reading ‘We read to know we are not alone’: Two ingredients of a great blog

Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

A prayer in dark times

The Netflix satire Don’t Look Up is about an impending apocalypse caused by a massive meteor heading for earth. Inevitably, there are references to faith and two prayers are said in the film. The first is by the President's Chief of Staff, played by Jonah Hill: 'I’ve been noticing a lot of prayers recently for… Continue reading A prayer in dark times